New Philips Hue App Syncs Your Lights to Games, Music

When it comes to smart light bulbs, the Philips Hue lighting system is already at the head of the class. And now Signify (formerly Philips Lighting) is coming out with an app to give its lights even more of an edge, and create a more immersive environment in your smart home.

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The Philips Hue Sync app will let you sync your lighting with the games, videos, and music you play on your computer if you have Philips Hue lightbulbs installed. For example, your lights could pulse disco-style to music you’re playing, or change to match the colors on your screen. If you're playing a game, the lights could flash to indicate explosions, or even someone creeping up behind you.

To customize your lights to your entertainment, you can select Audio, Video, or Gaming modes. Toggling between Subtle, Moderate, High, and Intense modes adjusts your light bulbs’ brightness and the speed at which they’re changing color.

The software is free, and compatible with all computers running Windows 10 or macOS Sierra.

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Philips Hue lights are typically among the most advanced (and most expensive) smart bulbs. Of all the light brands, it also has the most extensive compatibility with other smart-home systems.

The Hue app also allows you to create “Scenes,” presets that set all lights in a room (or your home) to a certain color or brightness with a single command. A number of apps, including those for Google Home and Alexa, offer similar features.

While the ability to sync your lights to whatever game you're playing or movie you're watching isn't exactly a driving factor for people buying smart bulbs, it does represent the next step in turning a discombobulated smart home into one in which everything, from the video on your computer to the lights on your ceiling, works together. And while Philips Hue is the first lighting brand to release something like this, don’t be surprised if some of its its competitors follow suit in the near future.

Monica Chin is a writer at The Verge, covering computers. Previously, she was a staff writer for Tom's Guide, where she wrote about everything from artificial intelligence to social media and the internet of things to. She had a particular focus on smart home, reviewing multiple devices. In her downtime, you can usually find her at poetry slams, attempting to exercise, or yelling at people on Twitter.